The Guard struck down the new Sentinels roster 2-1 in the opening match of the NA VCT LCQ.
The Guard Take Down Sentinels in the NA VCT Last Chance Qualifiers Opener
The LCQ is officially here. North America’s top eight unqualified teams are set to go head to head for the last North American spot in this year’s international VALORANT Champions tournament.
The double-elimination bracket tournament is hosting Sentinels, The Guard, FaZe Clan, Evil Geniuses, NRG, 100 Thieves, Cloud 9, and Shopify Rebellion (formerly Luminosity Gaming). The opening matchup was between two former titans, Sentinels and The Guard.
Amid struggles with zombs’s performance and SicK’s mental health, Sentinels fell apart in NA VCT Challengers 2. Unable to string together more than a single map win with Rawkus substituted in from the coaching position and Kanpeki signed from Akrew, Sentinels fell out of the tournament after going 0-5 in the group stage.
With many fans counting them out following their shutout elimination, Sentinels repaired their broken roster with the most shocking and surprising signing in VALORANT history. Returning to professional gaming for the first time since he retired from CS:GO (Counter Strike: Global Offensive) in April of 2018, Michael “shroud” Grzesiek took up the role of controller ahead of SicK’s eventual return to the team.
Alongside him, Sentinels also signed Zellsis from V1 (Version1) to replace Kanpeki and play in the Flex role. While shroud’s spot on the team is contingent on SicK’s return, Zellsis will likely remain with the team unless he is released.
Additionally, following heavy criticism from the VALORANT community, Sentinels also signed not one, but two analysts. As the team’s first ever analysts, Dani and Weltis will take over strategizing and countering Sentinels’ opponents’ strategies.
The Guard vs. Sentinels
Debuting their new roster against the old guard (pun intended), Sentinels were looking to reemerge onto the VALORANT scene in victory. Their opponents, The Guard, experienced similar struggles in the NA VCT Challengers 2 after also being eliminated during the group stage. Although they managed to pick up a win, their victory over TSM was not enough to leave the group stage.
Despite holding the third most Circuit Points—the point system used to award VALORANT Champions spots—The Guard have fallen off dramatically since their win over the eventual Masters 1 winners OpTic Gaming in NA VCT Challengers 1.
With no point-earning placements since then, The Guard have struggled to find their way back to their former glory. However, LCQ might finally be their shot at redemption. While their Circuit Points no longer matter, victory does. Striking the first blow in the tournament, The Guard brought down the highly praised Sentinels’ roster in a neck and neck 2-1 series.
Opening up on Sentinels’ map pick, Breeze, Zellsis came up big for his new team. With a stat line of 29/18/11, the former V1 prodigy opened the tournament with an incredible performance on KAY-O. While shroud was not quite as dominant, the former CS:GO pro had the first kill of the tournament, and secured Sentinels’ 15-13 overtime victory with a triple kill.
The following two maps, while close, were critical wins for The Guard. The second map, The Guard’s pick, was Ascent. While not quite breaking overtime, The Guard squeaked out a 13-10 victory over Sentinels.
The decider map, Icebox, once again broke into overtime. This time, however, The Guard managed to come out victorious with a 15-13 scoreline and an incredible performance from sayaplayer on Chamber.